Man People Hate Georgia

The most ironic aspect of this "Hitler responds to Georgia's reopening" is that they elected to adopt Hitler as being on their side. 

It's a festival of contempt that is probably by a northerner who moved to Atlanta, as they clearly know the state well (references to things like pollen, 'the same two colleges,' Waffle House, etc, are spot on).  It might be a native of Atlanta who has always hated most of the state, but they'd also have to be an introvert who hates the Southern way of greeting each other and talking to your neighbors.

The latter is hard on even slightly introverted people.  I raised my son to recognize when I was angling to exit a conversation, and never to say anything that would undermine the exit strategy I was employing.  Some of my neighbors will talk to you for hours if you don't find a way to duck out.

New Filing: Corrupt FBI Agents Committed Crimes to Frame Flynn

They’re going hard here.  I’m in danger of confirmation bias in this case, because I liked and admired Flynn for his work in Afghanistan. I never wanted to believe bad things about him, and may be too ready to believe good things.

On the other hand, it’s of a piece with many other revelations about the FBI and politics lately.


Two stories today about black politicians leaving the plantation.

A Birthday

April 24th was my father's birthday. He died in 2016. He was killed by a cancer we didn't know he had until three days before it killed him; he died within hours of being transferred from the hospital to a hospice. I was at his right hand when he died, and alone marked his shuddering last breath; my mother and some of their old friends were too engaged in pleasant conversation and reminiscence to notice. I said nothing at all, for I think that the mind lingers a while even after the breathing stops, and I wanted his last moments to dwell on the peaceful sounds of voices, his wife's and her friends.

It's hard now that some people can't be with their fathers when they die, but it's hard being there too. The memory haunts me, knowing he was dying and taking no steps to save him. It was what he wanted, and I knew my duty, and I did it. He was a volunteer fire fighter who ran many, many medical calls to the homes of people who were dying. They could be revived with great pain and effort, and kept alive a little longer, suffering all the time. He knew that wasn't what he wanted, and he made his mind up early not to die that way. He told me that when he was hale, and often, so I knew that he meant it when he was not.

When his time came he decided. I was angry to see how much pain he was in, until suddenly it came over me that the pain was a great gift as from on high: because the pain took away all his fear. He did not experience the existential dread at the border of extinction, but set his course straight for death. I heard him say of his own death, refusing treatment and electing hospice care, "Let's get this show on the road."

He was the grandson of a farmer, and the son of a welder and body repairman who ended up owning a service station for long-haul truckers on I-75. I wrote about my grandfather, and my father, in one of my favorite pieces. My grandmother, his mother, had a good heart morally but a bad one physically; she took nitroglycerin and hard liquor from her 40s, in an age and a place when most women didn't drink. She outlived her husband by a decade or so all the same.

God love you, old man. I did too. I'd pray for him, and sometimes have, but I suspect his soul is in a far better case than mine.

Beware this Woman

Hear, O ye free, her hymn to Big Brother.

The Feast of St. George

If you’re looking for a reason to feel festive today, it’s the feast day of the famous dragonslayer.

UPDATE: By coincidence, since the date floats around due to the lunar calendar, today is also the first day of Ramadan. I’m not aware that any of the readers of the Hall are Muslim, but if you are, I wish you well. It was a strange Easter, and I imagine Passover, without family gatherings, and I suppose it will be a strange Ramadan too. Fate has given us all something in common.

Mainstream Constitutional notions provoke frenzy

Attorney General Barr is one of my favorite government officials.  He keeps giving interviews describing what sounds to me like straight-up common-sense Constitutional analysis.  I remain confused what his critics believe about how the law is supposed to work.

On the subject of the federal government's proper role in policing state governments, Barr states mildly that state governments have very broad police powers, but they are nevertheless subject to some federal Constitutional boundaries.  When citizens file suit in federal court to protest that a state government has trespassed those boundaries, the DOJ looks into it and, if it agrees, takes the citizens' side.

How this became either excessive federalism or a betrayal of federalist principles, I have no idea.  The only common thread seems to be abysmal ignorance of the Constitution.  Lately almost every day someone tries to argue to me that in a contest between state and federal governments and citizens, either the citizens always win, or the state always wins, or the federal government always wins.  None of those statements has ever been true.

Michael Moore pries one half of one eye open

Say, did you know that electric cars don't get their electricity from unicorns?

Yes, I know all of you did, but poor Michael Moore has just now noticed.  Apparently all that's left is to decimate and then impoverish humans, otherwise we're all going to die, which would be bad, or else good.


That's a language warning too, if you look up the acronym. We're getting more of them these days. It's a function of the age.

Trump orders the Navy to sink Iranian gunboats that harass our warships.

Well past time, if you ask me. I'd have done that years ago.

A Punk Rock Interlude

I'm not convinced that Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards aren't the best punk rock band ever. Also, not Communists.

Lars also plays guitar for a much more famous punk/ska band, Rancid. There's even skateboarding in honor of our recent story.

Language warning on all this stuff. I mean, it's punk rock. You're all adults.

"And It's Ladies' Night, Tonight"

A classic rolls through town, bringing joy to those of us old enough to remember 1980.

Clear Rules

What's the problem people are having understanding this?

Georgia on my Mind

Harry O'Donoghue plays the piece at the beginning of his fifth quarantine podcast, "In Song and Story." If you like it, stick around because he sings a few more. Harry was a regular at Kevin Barry's Irish Pub, in the grand old days in Savannah.

Trump Says Georgia Should Not Re-Open

I'm curious to see if this will cause all my Georgia friends to switch sides on the question.  It's been completely tribal so far, with the Trump-supporters supporting re-opening a la Kemp, and Trump opponents supporting defying the governor by calling on everyone to remain inside until doomsday.

Until now Kemp has been in alignment with Trump, so you could signal your group allegiance cleanly. But now that the Orange Man has come out on the other side from Kemp, which loyalty prevails? Do you suddenly see the light on giving it a week or two more? Do you suddenly suggest that, you know, friends, we really could all use a good haircut right now?

Barr Defends Constitutional Liberties

He’s definitely saying the right things. We will have to watch for action.

Disobedience with Style

A city park in California built a facility for skateboarding. Skaters, not being famous for obeying authority, refused to stop coming in spite of orders. So, the city brought in tons of wet sand and filled the park.

So now they’ve got dirt bikes.

Civil disobedience

My county closed down the public beaches and boat ramps, not so much because they couldn't be used safely, as because the citizens vocally feared an influx of bored tourists fleeing quarantine in the teeming, scary, infected cities.  It surprised me:  I thought the voters would rebel, but instead a solid majority cheered the measure.

Several weeks have passed, however.  We have had only two confirmed COVID-19 cases, neither of which had to be hospitalized, and both are recovering, perhaps even past the presumed contagious phase.

Yesterday the local Navigation District commissioners met.  They are bound by the county's order, but most of the affected beaches and public boat ramps are in their geographical jurisdiction.  The Nav District voted to remove the barricades the county had asked them to place on the beaches and ramps, and announced their intention to ask the County Judge to modify his lockdown order.  In the meantime, everyone appears to acknowledge that the beaches and ramps technically still are closed, but no one from the Nav District or, apparently, the local police, intends to enforce the closure.  Part of the reasoning was that local short-term rentals are still prohibited, so we shouldn't face much of a tourist influx.

I foresee an upheaval in the next few weeks as counties begin to implement the governor's instructions to re-open businesses carefully, starting with curbside delivery.  A constituent called me earlier this week wanting to know whether the county was enforcing any requirement for take-out restaurant workers to wear masks.  There is no rule requiring food workers to wear masks, though I did encourage her not to patronize any restaurant whose safety practices didn't suit her.  She wanted to discuss her unhappiness with a particular restaurant.  I urged her not to eat there.  She wanted to talk about the special health needs of a live-in relative.  I suggested that, given that relative's special needs, she might want to consider not eating at any restaurants for the duration.  I mention her because I get the impression from social media that she's far from alone.  She wants to concentrate on limiting the freedom of others rather than on her own options for hunkering down in safety, at some minor inconvenience to herself, but at no serious cost.

As always, my concern is less with these inconveniences, and almost entirely with the people who are missing paychecks, and for whom the situation is getting critical.  Those of use who want or need to guard ourselves carefully are getting every opportunity to do so.  No one is making us go into any dangerous buildings.  The local hospitals are, if not exactly fine, at least no more inadequate than they ever were.  We're going to have to open the economy back up, carefully but soon.  Lots of masks and spacing, fine, but get those jobs back ASAP.  So I'm pleased to see at least one local government flex its muscles a bit, and I'm curious to see how the public reacts.

Snake Pliskin for Prez 2024

I'm liking Dan Crenshaw more and more.

Sympathy for the Working Man

Glen Reynolds notes that some Americans, still drawing pay, are not that sympathetic to the ones who aren't.’s hard not to notice a class divide here. As with so many of America’s conflicts, the divide is between the people in the political/managerial class on the one hand and the people in the working class on the other. And as usual, the smugness and authoritarianism are pretty much all on one side.
If they keep staying home, they'll have no homes to stay in. That's not a trivial problem, nor one that can be wished away.

There are even more dire consequences when we consider the world as a whole. How much sympathy is there for Africa and Asia among our political and managerial class, who talk about 'people of color' almost as much as they talk about 'working Americans'?

San Jacinto

Texan denizens, we join you today in celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto. For those not from Texas, this was the battle that redeemed the sacrifice at the Alamo. As Marty Robbins describes in this song, the men of the Alamo bought thirteen days for Sam Houston to assemble an army to contest the army brought north by Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

This day 1836, Sam Houston's forces met Santa Anna's and won a decisive victory. Ironically, it will take you longer to read a thorough account of the battle than it took to fight it: from the opening volley of artillery to the Mexican rout was eighteen minutes. As the article says, though, "the killing lasted for hours."

The Republic of Texas was born.

"Decaying" Communities Can Survive, Dude

The Atlantic is hysterical. Can you still say "hysterical"? The author's not a woman so we're going with it.
This was the American landscape that lay open to the virus: in prosperous cities, a class of globally connected desk workers dependent on a class of precarious and invisible service workers; in the countryside, decaying communities in revolt against the modern world; on social media, mutual hatred and endless vituperation among different camps; in the economy, even with full employment, a large and growing gap between triumphant capital and beleaguered labor; in Washington, an empty government led by a con man and his intellectually bankrupt party; around the country, a mood of cynical exhaustion, with no vision of a shared identity or future.
I'm pretty sure that labor's wages were rising faster than we've seen lately before this happened, led by the 'empty government con man.' That's not what I want to talk about.

As for the 'decaying communities in revolt against the modern world,' son, we've got this if you can just take your systems of debt off our necks. I'm planting a garden, as are all of us. I never thought of myself as a gardener, but because I married a woman who loves gardens, I've built literal tons of them. The current one has three raised beds, more than twenty feet long, with the soil carefully broken and double-dug. They're amended with all organic things like ash and charcoal and manure.

We're going to have food in the harvest like you can't imagine. The forest is full of turkey and deer, the mountains full of bear and grouse. Our population density is minimal, and we live in fresh air and sunshine. School is canceled, but the school buses are still running to drop off food daily to the poor. If only we could figure out a way to push back mortgages, so we don't unhouse a bunch of people in the middle of the growing season, you could otherwise just stop worrying about us and focus on the afflicted cities.

It's the modern world's system of universal debt that's dangerous. Our community isn't decaying, it's growing. It's growing crops.

Gloves Off

I'm not sure that invoking the French Revolution is a great idea right now, but here we are.

And then there's this truly astonishing ad. This is World Wrestling Federation stuff. If Biden happened to win after seven more months of ads like this, he'd be a laughingstock the day he took office. If he's up to taking office, of course. That's looking unclear, which is likely to be the focus of yet more forthcoming ads.

Demagoguery seems to be the order of the day. Not that these people deserve better, but there are some pretty clear warnings from history about following this path.

Havamal 38

Raven sends a piece about a Norwegian mountain pass that has recently become clear for the first time in a long time. The last time was apparently the Viking Age, and many artifacts are being discovered. Along the way they quote my favorite verse from the Havamal.

There are photos of some artifacts, and video of the pass and another about tunics.

Judicial Review of Petty Tyrants

An argument that we should see more of it, and no deference given by the courts to "authority figures" who exceed their constitutional powers.

Motions to get real

Some of the legal pushback against seemingly punitive religious restrictions appears to be working.

Thank you, Captain Obvious

It's almost as if an unusually high proportion of inmates didn't share your notion of what's conscionable.

With this guy at the helm, I can't imagine why NYC is having so many problems.  Income redistribution, universal pre-K, free health care for illegal immigrants in a sanctuary city--it shoulda been a paradise!

Newbie lawyers can't take the bar for a while

Glen Reynolds discusses the dilemma of law school grads who will be delayed by coronavirus in their quest to hang out a shingle.  I'm all over the place on this one, between sympathy and indifference.  I'd certainly have hated to have to wait, after working for three years to grab the brass ring.  On the side of declining to shed a tear, however, I note that law students of only moderate ability in OK schools already earn a pretty good living working for law firms for several years before they take the bar.  It's not a huge burden for them to keep that up for another year or so before they snag a license.  The biggest inconvenience is that they can't go into immediate independent practice as brand-new lawyers, but that's very hard to pull off under the best of circumstances.

People are discussing the possibility of granting new graduates some kind of provisional license until we can go back to administering the bar exam to crowds.  Others are arguing that the bar exam is outmoded and should be ditched entirely.  Re the former, it's beyond me why a written exam can't be administered consistently with social-distancing measures.  Re the latter, it's the same unending argument we face in public schools:  whether our schools have degenerated into "teaching to the test."

There's no doubt the bar exam is a rudimentary test, a low standard of competence.  It would be a shame if most law schools did no better than enable their graduates to pass it.  In fact, however, a surprising number of law school graduates can't pass it, which should suggest either that some schools are doing a wretched job of teaching, or that students are being accepted to law school who don't belong there, or both.  What's more, absent a standard test, it's hard to imagine that an awful lot of law school administrations wouldn't drift into social justice legal basket-weaving and navel-gazing, in which a passing grade depended on attending the right protests, and graduates gained practically no mastery of the nuts and bolts of even the most straightforward kind of law.  Basket-weaving and navel-gazing are easier and more fun to teach.

Clearly only the fear of loss of accreditation and/or failure to secure tuition checks spurs some law schools to find some way to avoid letting the percentage of its bar-passing graduates drop below a certain level.

No. Good talk

A few proposals that are going over like a flight of bird dogs:  how about if we close the grocery stores, too?  Also, why not outlaw homeschooling?  My favorite rationale from that one is "to ensure the proper role of government" in our kids' lives.  It's been keeping me up nights for sure.  A heartbreaking number of kids have too little government in their lives.

Another good rationale is "with homeschooling we have no way of knowing if kids are learning anything."  Apparently we lack data about how homeschooled kids blow the doors off public-school kids.  Yes, I know the sample is skewed, but that's irrelevant if the proposal is to outlaw the homeschooling that's actually occurring.  It matters only if you want to argue about closing the public schools instead, and replace them with 100% homeschooling.

I used to wish I'd been able to afford Harvard.  I don't wish that any more.

Relative dangers

We're far from understanding the health and safety impacts of quite a few inter-related factors over the last couple of months.  Many people point to the danger of increased alcoholism--not to mention more immediate outright suicide--from the lockdown combined with joblessness, but that's still an awfully fuzzy, speculative, unquantifiable picture.  There's also a concern about deferring non-emergency procedures long enough to be nearly as dangerous as ignoring emergencies, but again, we're still guessing there.

I've been wondering about the bullets we may have dodged from hospital-acquired infections and simple medical error.  There's also clear reason to think that extreme social distancing has blown a giant hole in normal seasonal rates of sometimes deadly respiratory illness.  This chart is pretty amazing:

Improvise and overcome

If it saves one life

CBS notes that March 2020 was unusual for its lack of school shootings.  Yay for homeschooling, the only way to keep the kiddos safe!  Snopes was on the job immediately, crowing "Trump halts school shootings!"  Just kidding, they gave the CBS report a sniffy "Most false" rating, a/k/a "Needs context," which is Snopesian for "inconveniently true, but it depends on how you define your terms, and anyway shut up."

I keep seeing posts worrying about helpless children stuck at home with their abusive families, not so many about kids relieved they don't have to worry about being raped or knifed in the girl's room or behind the gym.  There's a lot of angst about losing everyone's favorite source of daycare and free lunches, less about whether kids are missing out on the acquisition of knowledge.  Some kids are pretty happy about skipping the 3-hour-a-day commute.